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How to Choose Office Lighting

Office Lighting Design and Ideas

Office lighting and commercial lighting, in general, differed greatly from those found in a residential setting. The overall design has to incorporate many factors which flow throughout the commercial space. In a home, the lighting generally is suited more to the design and individual room, rather than as part of an overall plan

Furthermore, in an office, the power requirements greatly differ for the lighting installation. Thus, great design and thought is required on how to design the electrical cabling to feed these lights.

So what are some options when it comes to commercial office lighting?

To assist you with choosing the most suitable office lighting to suit your requirements, examine the following items for consideration

  1. The lighting levels for the office
  2. How you want the lighting design to look and the overall aesthetics
  3. The cost budget for the installation
  4. The expected longevity of the system
  5. Ease of installation and disruption
  6. Ease of service and ongoing maintenance

The Office Lighting Levels

Lumens or Lux calculations are the way that levels for office lighting are measured. Visible light and its output form the basis of the calculations. Lumens is how we measure visible light. Generally in an office space, the greater the lumens of an office delighting fixture, the greater the light coverage it provides. Lux is equivalent to 1 lumen per 1 square metre

Thus, we can consider light output to be the lumen's value. LEDs provide a greater lumen output, along with cost-effective operation. Therefore, LED lighting is generally the basis of most, if not all office delighting installations

You will see different styles and manufacturers within offices, however. This will depend on older legacy systems and the style required by the office. Some designs call for a non LED light to create an effect or warmth.

The CIBSE Recommend the following for lighting levels for office

  1. Standard Office Areas – Lighting Level of 500 Lux
  2. Computer Areas – Lighting Level of 300 – 500 Lux
  3. Filing Areas – Lighting Level of 300 Lux
  4. Print Areas – Lighting Level of 300 Lux
  5. Changing / Toilets – Lighting Level of 100-150 Lux

Types of Office Lighting

When considering office lighting, these are the three most common types

  1. LED Lighting
  2. Fluorescent Lighting
  3. Incandescent Lighting

 Incandescent Lighting

This type of lighting is now rarely found in a commercial setting. It is outdated and ineffective. They will have either been replaced or left in only a few areas. However, they are still found.

The problems with this type of lighting are

  1. They are the least energy-efficient of the lighting options
  2. When operating, they operate at a higher temperature
  3. They have a short service and maintenance life
  4. They are costly to operate

In older office installation, this lighting was chosen when it was compared to fluorescent light fittings. They reached their light levels much quicker by comparison. Furthermore, the lights give off a "Warmth", which some clients like to have in certain areas. You can feel the warmth emitting from these fittings. That can be desirable in some areas. However, in others, it can make the area feel too hot or stifling

You will see these lighting styles in bespoke bulbs and lighting designs

Fluorescent Lighting

In comparison to incandescent, these fittings are a big step up in comparison. That's due to the increased longevity of the light fittings and bulbs compared to incandescent. In many cases, the additional lifespan might even be 20 times longer. Of course, they are still a shorter life span when compared to LED lighting

These fittings don't give off heat from the bulb, and they work at a lower operating temperature. This results in lower energy, lower cost, and lower maintenance. Fluorescent lights were also a big increase in light coverage and light levels

However, there were still downsides to this type of lighting. As mentioned, they provide good lighting coverage and at a bright level. However, the common trait with these fittings was the starters and operation. When turning on, a starter noise can often be heard, and a sometimes noticeable pause before the lights "Kick in". When they age, this delay prolongs, and the lights can intermittently flicker and create noise during operation.

The problem is usually solved by replacing the light bulb or tube. However, this results in a lot of service and maintenance time. Especially if the fittings are in hard to reach spaces

LED Lighting

LED lighting is the one found most often in a commercial and office environment. In most cases, it's simply the best and only choice to go for. Furthermore, the majority and nearly all manufactured light fittings for the commercial space are manufactured with LED Technology.

LED Lighting has so many benefits and functionality. Hence, why it is the overriding choice for offices and commercial spaces

The advantages and benefits of LED lighting are:

  1. The light fittings last the longest
  2. They operate at a lower temperature. Especially when compared to fluorescent lighting
  3. They provide greater lighting levels at lower wattage

Lower temperature results in lower energy usage and an overall lower operating cost

The additional advantage is although they use lower energy, it doesn't affect the lighting level they output

In the majority of cases, the performance is increased, like for like.

The benefits of operating at a lower energy usage are

  1. Reduction in energy used for the environment
  2. Lower operating cost
  3. Reduced maintenance and service
  4. Increased timescales between replacements

LED lighting used to be the most expensive to buy and install. You only gained the savings on the cost reduction in operating them. However, as more was adopted, the manufacturing increased and economies of scale resulted in lower cost for purchase. In fact, the purchase costs dropped below those of alternative systems

Aesthetic Considerations for Office Lighting 

Light coverage will probably be the first and main part of designing a system in a commercial space. However, how those lights look and create the design are a very close second. 

Of course, the first role of lighting is to provide illumination. However, lighting design and fixture choice sets the tone for the overall feel, style, and look of the office. This design not only impacts your clients when they visit as part of your brand, but it is also an important part of the productivity of your employees.

Each office is different, and hence so is the design. Some office designs will be all open-plan and have one type of lighting throughout. Others will separate design by area. Furthermore, some areas may be standard office delighting for productivity, and some areas will have a bespoke design to create a feel or environment. We have had clients that have created outdoor landscapes within their offices for meeting rooms and restaurants.

These have included farmyards, beach houses, forests, and saunas as a style for their rooms. Of course, each of these required a bespoke lighting design to create and suit the design

Office Lighting Cost

Following on from productivity, lighting levels, and design, the budget will be a critical factor. The great thing is that there are so many manufacturers and choices that there are generally options for all ranges of budgets. The cost differences are usually on the actual design of the unit, rather than the operation

You should always start with a light to create the correct lighting levels. A poor design looks good but doesn't serve the purpose or allow you to work effectively. Therefore, start with the design for the correct light coverage, and then choose the design to fit those requirements

Once you have the correct coverage for your areas, you can then add bespoke design lighting to create a certain feel or brand

We have a range of electrical designers that can assist and advise on the correct commercial lighting for your office. Contact us today for an initial discussion and arrange a free survey 

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